By Mable Nakibuuka
Uganda Telecom Limited (utl), which is the country’s only government-owned telecommunications company, has literally gone to the dogs, after its network being off for several days.
As you read this, several utl clients are crying foul and wondering if the company finally closed shop after going days without network, yet they are not receiving any official public communication about the anomaly.
Many of them have since started venting out their anger and ranting on Facebook and other social media platforms, demanding for answers from the management of utl as to what is happening.
Bart Kakooza, one of the longtime subscribers of utl and a religious supporter of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) campaign, ranted thus on Facebook;
“Has UTL finally bowed out? For years I have been scolded and laughed at by my friends and associates for staying on a “sinking canoe”‘. I mean I carried UTLs cross! Simply because I was avoiding getting a phone network prostitution – phone merchant infection. And the hopeless belief that UTL was big. Besides, I thought that I was exercising my patriotism by going BUBU. But intriguingly the seemingly spell that UTL cast on me to stick with them is unexplainable for a whopping 15 year . I must now say 100 mia culpas, now entering a second day disconnected. Of course when approached for explanation, the usual ‘WE ARE EXPERIENCING OUTAGE BUT OUR ENGINEERS ARE WORKING ROUND THE CLOCK…’. templated elucidation was slapped into my face.
With rage, I left and ashamedly sneaked back into my office to face a barrage of questions as to what happened and why I can quit. Now, my friends’ and associates’ pleas for me to forswear have reached a deafening crescendo leaving me with no choice but to jump over board and let the hulk plunge alone. Sad that all my associates, friends, family have long contacted me on this sole line, but I think the tipping point is just an inch away that I’m left without choice because a lingering ray of hope for the network’s resurrection is thread- thin. Rest in peace my friend.”
The last time matters concerning utl were tabled before parliament Evelyn Anite, the State Minister for and investment and privatisation was vehemently agitating against the sale of utl to other investors, arguing that the entity could still be revived into an income generating entity for government.
She got involved in a bitter spat with Twebaze Bemanya, the former utl Administrator, Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana, Minister Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi and others after she demanded a forensic audit of utl, which they opposed.
However, early January this year the High Court appointed the former President of the Uganda Law Society, Ruth Sebatindira, as the new Administrator of UTL, replacing Bemanya Twebaze whose contract expired in November 2019.
This followed an application by the Uganda Contribution Employees Contributory Pension Scheme through their lawyers seeking orders compelling Twebaze to be removed from office and replaced with an eligible Insolvency Practitioner.
They faulted him for failing to collect the outstanding amounts due to UTL from the government and its departments in terms of the Deed of Administration and failure to find an investor to recapitalize and operate the Telecom.
Twebaze was also accused of failing to pay in full all claims against UTL within the Administration time and to conclude the Administration within the period stipulated.
However, efforts to contact the management of utl for a comment about this matter were futile since they couldn’t be reached through their office lines.
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